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Staying with the Steelers isn’t always the best option

Mark Kaboly | Tribune-Review

We tend to view free agency through the organization’s eyes. You know, “Steelers need to bring back Mendenhall, Lewis and Wallace.”

Instead, maybe we should approach it in the player’s perspective, and just maybe, signing with the Steelers isn’t the best thing for them monetarily and professionally?

I do believe that’s the case for a number of Steelers free agent, and this is why:
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Plaxico BurressWR Plaxico Burress — Sure, the Steelers are need of some wide receiver help and could use Burress’ veteran leadership, but playing time will be at a minimum if he stays with the Steelers. Baring injury, Burress wouldn’t be more than a fourth wide receiver with the Steelers. At his age, he wants to play, and a fourth receiver on the Steelers doesn’t get on the field much.
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Ramon FosterOL Ramon Foster — Foster has started 30 consecutive games for the Steelers, and this is the one time he will be able to make some real money. Sure, he would love to be back with the Steelers, but at what cost? If he comes back, he will head into spring ball behind David DeCastro and Willie Colon. Foster has shown he is a starter in this league, so why would he want to come back and likely get cast to the side again especially with a great need around the NFL for solid linemen?
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Max StarksOL Max Starks — Starks is in a very similar situation as Foster. Starks started all 29 games at left tackle since the Steelers signed him a week into last season, and he’s played them all for the veteran minimum salary. With the Steelers investing second-round picks in tackles Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert, Starks is the odd man out despite being the team’s best lineman in 2012. Starks in only 30 and has shown he is still a starter in the NFL so why not try to recoup some of that money he gave away the past two years and be assured of a starting position?
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Mike WallaceWR Mike Wallace — Forget that the Steelers aren’t going to be able to come close to matching what Wallace is offered on the open market. We all saw that Wallace’s skill set doesn’t fit in with the direction the Steelers offense is going. Why wouldn’t Wallace want to go somewhere where his best attributes are highlighted especially if he would get similar money on both places?
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Rashard MendenhallRB Rashard Mendenhall — This one is tricky. No doubt that Mendenhall is the most talented running back the Steelers have and, with his head on straight, could really help them. But if you are Mendenhall, who we all acknowledge made some bonehead decisions this year, you feel that you were done wrong by the coaching staff. Hear me out. Mendenhall fumbled seven times over his first 843 NFL carries, then fumbled twice within four carries and is banished to the third team and even so low as not to be active on game day. All this while Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Wallace, Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman and Chris Rainey are fumbling left and right. Something like that will make you, well, not show up a game that you know you’ve been told that you won’t be active for.

Saying all that, I do feel that a number of free agents would be better off staying with the Steelers including CB Keenan Lewis. Lewis fits into a niche with the Steelers opposite Ike Taylor and complementing Cortez Allen, and if he is offered competitive money by the Steelers, his best interest is to stay just like all these guys: DB Will Allen, QB Charlie Batch, LB Larry Foote, NT Casey Hampton, LB Brandon Johnson, HB David Johnson, QB Byron Leftwich, OL Doug Legursky, CB Justin King, S Ryan Mundy, TE Leonard Pope and LS Greg Warren.

Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly covers the Pittburgh Steelers for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 250 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as three Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa and XLV in Dallas. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer, and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug

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